Obesity is on the rise and takeaways are on average 21% more calorie-dense than those cooked at home.
In this Recipe, we will show how to nudge people to choose healthier food options without restricting choice.
- Jerome Ribot, Coglode Creator
Change the options too much and people will feel uncomfortable about too much intervention on the things they enjoy.
A control is set up to be free from any intentional behavioural design and provides us a baseline against which to measure our tests.
The context here is online pizza ordering, so our control below is set up to represent the normal set of options and information you might see when opting for a late night snack.
With our control set up, let's get behavioural! This will become our first behavioural variant.
Our aim here is to nudge smaller portion sizes, and Defaults are a great way of doing this.
Let’s pre-select the Small pizza as the default option to nudge for smaller portions.
Defaults are great, but we can supercharge them by applying other Nuggets.
Social Proof offers a great way to reinforce what's normal and popular, making it a safer and more likely choice, especially for those new to the market.
Here, we want to rename portion sizes around what is socially-normal, so let's change ‘Small’ to ‘Regular’. This gives the added impression that most people opt for the pre-selected default, and so should we.
From research, Centre-stage Effect tells us that people prefer middle options, because options in the middle feel safer than those at the edges.
Let's apply this Nugget to our final intervention. To do this, let's add a new Extra-Small option to the set of choices and call it 'Small’. Our previous ‘Small’ becomes a ‘Regular’, Regular becomes 'Large' and so on...
Let's also make sure that we default people to the smallest portion size.
Here's what the finished interventions look like.
The data is impressive.
For the 6000 participants in the experiment, each successive intervention had a meaningful impact on calories purchased.
The best intervention, which combined Defaults, Social Proof and the Centre-stage Effect reduced calories per customer by 177.
The results could probably be improved further by following the Centre-stage Effect principle more closely and positioning the options horizontally, instead of vertically, as was done here.
The power of a well-set default can greatly influence behaviour
When we don’t know what is best, defaults are a powerful way to guide us to the ‘right’ answer. Use carefully to avoid triggering Reactance.
Redesigning choice needn’t constrain our freedoms
This Recipe never took away choice from consumers. It merely started them off from a more healthy baseline, providing new options that weren’t available before. Always ensure that you have the their best interests at heart and you should be okay.
Also, your own context will greatly affect how your intervention performs, so do test early and often.
Combining Nuggets well can compound their effects
The results clearly show just how much more impact we can have if we combine our Nuggets into one intervention. However, if you over-combine, you could create a frankenstein that is hard to determine what’s causing the success or failure of the intervention.
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